Facebook knowingly facilitates illegal sales of Amazon rainforest

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Facebook is knowingly facilitating the illegal sale of Brazil’s iconic Amazon rainforest according to a BBC investigation.

The British public broadcaster is now reporting that chunks of what is the world’s most important rainforest is “being sold off via classified ads on the social media site with some “as large as 1000 football pitches,” according to the BBC. (one football pitch is roughly 105mx68m)

Amazon Forest

Yet, although the issue has been made known to the American social media giant, indications are that Facebook remains reluctant to take any immediate action over the matter.

“Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations,” Facebook responded to the BBC when informed of the issue – a response effectively giving tacit approval for the ads to remain on the site although the company did say it was “ready to work with local authorities.”

(image source – Wikimedia)

Calls from the local indigenous community for Facebook to do more have already emerged with one local NGO head saying “(T)he land invaders feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals.”

According to the BBC report, by searching Facebook’s Marketplace for the local Portuguese language words for jungle, forest and timber and selecting an area in the Amazon, sales returns come up alongside images and in some cases, GPS coordinates.  

By Mark Buckton

(This article first appeared in The Taiwan Times and is republished with permission)

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